Promoting proper waste disposal increases the visual appeal of your site.
When designing a building or landscape, waste is usually not what first comes to mind. However, garbage disposal is an important part of the development planning process, as creating a clean space makes an area both appealing and more habitable. Selecting the right waste bin for your site allows you to capitalize on the multitude of benefits that they can provide.
Why garbage cans?
Litter not only has a negative impact on the environment, but people are more likely to view a beautiful area as unsightly if it is cluttered with discarded garbage. Its presence also raises your cleaning costs, as litter must be cleaned up on a regular basis. Litter tends to accumulate when there isn’t access to proper waste disposal, and a garbage can is a useful tool that incentivizes people to discard their garbage properly.
While any garbage bin may reduce the amount of litter in your area, there are a few ways a bin can impact your landscape that should be taken into consideration when picking one. Selecting a garbage bin with aesthetics that fit into the surrounding style can raise the visual appeal. Also, the amount of trash that will be discarded must be accounted for when looking at the volume of a bin. Understanding the specific needs for your site, such as the type of litter, the amount, and where it accumulates, allows you to easily determine how many cans to purchase and where to place them.
Finding the right bin volume
A waste bin is a great way to minimize trash clutter, but choosing one too small for its location will only be effective to a point. For low-traffic indoor and outdoor locations such as office buildings and residential complexes, you may find a bin with a 10-gallon capacity to more than suffice. However, a 30- to 35-gallon bin will be more efficient in high traffic spaces such as malls, parks, or busy pedestrian streets.
Your maintenance schedule is an important consideration, as areas that are frequently maintained will accumulate less garbage at any given time and can be supported by a smaller bin. If the waste is not removed from the bins on a regular basis, however, a larger garbage receptacle will allow for longer periods of time between maintenance without worry of overflow.
Receptacle features and aesthetics
Like any site furnishing, garbage bins are available in a wide range of styles. Selecting one that fits aesthetically into your landscape helps to maintain its visual appeal while improving the cleanliness of your site. Common materials for bins include stainless or structural steel, and many have wood highlights that give them a natural aesthetic.
The lid is also an important consideration. Having an open-topped waste bin increases accessibility for users, yet in outdoor situations leaves the garbage susceptible to winds and inclement weather, which can leave litter sopping wet and scattered throughout your area. Keeping your trash secure outdoors is as simple as ensuring your waste bin includes a cover. While a closed dome top best protects your trash from the elements, users must push a door open to dispose of trash—meaning some users will be hesitant to touch the receptacle, and the cover must be regularly cleaned. A rain bonnet, which sits on top of the can to block water yet provides access from all sides, is a safe midway-point. A cover on your trash bin also plays a role in deterring vandalism and preventing people from reaching in.
In an area where people are allowed to smoke, an ashtray top can be utilized to provide a safe way to snuff out and dispose of cigarette butts. Additionally, compartments for people to throw recyclable goods are an easy way to encourage recycling of products such as cans and bottles. This can be in the form of a rack mounted to the side of the waste bin, or its own separate bin in high-traffic areas. Non-traditional containers (such as purpose-built pet waste receptacles) can be used to complement your standard waste bin, providing guests with an easier time of disposing waste responsibly and reducing maintenance requirements.
Placing your garbage can
The placement of your waste bin has a strong impact on the average person’s decision to litter or seek proper disposal. In 2009, a report from Keep America Beautiful noted that average littering rates were approximately 17% if a trash receptacle was 29 feet away and increased with further distance, but decreased to 12 percent if one was within 10 feet of a receptacle.
While garbage accumulation will typically depend on the behavior of your visitors, there are a number of known culprits where bins should be placed to reduce litter:
- Transition Points: Pedestrians often seek to dispose of any trash when moving from one area to another. Placing receptacles at areas such as entrances, exits, bus stops, food vendors, or washrooms is an effective way to promote proper waste disposal.
- Seating Areas: Features such as park benches or picnic tables, where guests may eat a meal or have a drink, are prone to attracting litter. Nearby waste bins will encourage guests to dispose of their trash before leaving the area.
- Crosswalks and Intersections: Like transition points, intersections of roads or pedestrian paths are subject to increased litter accumulation from pedestrians. Placing a waste bin visibly nearby can greatly reduce the amount of litter.
Including signage near your trash receptacle may aid in bringing attention to the receptacles and serve as an additional reminder for your guests to dispose of their garbage.
R-5001 Cincinnati trash can
Built for sleek, contemporary landscapes, the R-5001 Cincinnati litter receptacle features vertical slats of sealant-finished Balau wood, a reddish-brown timber with an interlocked grain renowned for its strength and durability. The wood is paired with a galvanized steel frame, establishing a stylish look that fits beautifully into its surroundings alongside powerful structural integrity.
With a capacity of 9.8 gallons, this trash bin is most effective in areas with mild to moderate traffic, and can be installed either indoors or outdoors due to the use of resistant materials in the assembly. It features a rain cover to protect the contents from weather, and this cover can be easily lifted for quick removal of the garbage within.
R-5002 Seattle trash can
Built for high-traffic areas, the R-5002 Seattle trash can features a 34.4-gallon capacity to hold large amounts of garbage. Made from 316 grade stainless steel, this waste bin offers a modern, metallic finish with exceptional resistance to corrosion. Built to complement any streetscape, it can be bolted down securely into concrete surfaces, providing additional protection against vandalism.
The Seattle features an open-top lid with an internal receptacle, protecting the contents inside from rain and weather while simultaneously allowing for easy removal of the receptacle within.
For more information on site furnishings including trash bins, park benches, and bike parking, check out the following three articles:
- City Trash Bins and Better Trash Management
- A Guide to Park Benches (for Thriving Neighborhoods)
- Bike Infrastructure: An Essential Guide